The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

By Chuck Rogér

Should Americans be concerned about a Federal Communications Commission official having once suggested that if government doesn’t help minorities reduce white ownership of broadcast media, then only violence would assure the protection of minorities’ civil rights [1]? In the little-noticed 2007 publication “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Mark Lloyd attempted to make a case for Washington controlling media ownership. At the time, Lloyd — now FCC Chief Diversity Officer — was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Lloyd’s contribution, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” is saturated with straw man arguments.

Ideologues use two predominant straw man templates. Type I declares the existence of nonexistent problems in order to draw implications that bolster ideological talking points. Type II offers imagined evidence against imagined problems to strengthen talking points.
Mark Lloyd depended on Type I straw men in “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006.” He wrote, “Communications policy determines who gets to speak to whom, how soon and at what cost.” Bad policy “enhances one group’s ability to communicate and limits another group,” violates the limited group’s civil rights, and “perpetuates the stereotypes one group holds about the other.” There is no proof of a “communications policy” that either benefits or hurts certain “groups,” and yet Lloyd stated the contention as fact. Indeed, there’s no proof that Americans communicate according to any “policy” at all. The very idea of government-controlled communications violates the First Amendment. Lloyd’s follow-on points depend on the reader not noticing the hocus-pocus.
But all the magic in the world cannot assign value to specifics based on worthless generalities. Lloyd offered three gems.
If a white teacher believes it will be difficult to teach a brown child, her expectations for that child will be limited. If a white police officer believes black men to be threatening, he will tend to shoot first. If a white citizen believes women of color are lazy, he will be less inclined to support laws that aid the poor.
Essentially admitting the flimsiness of the claims, Lloyd then fell back on an old, reliable “The evidence to support these assertions is compelling.” But no relevant evidence was revealed. Instead, revealed was an obsession with white-bashing. Lloyd’s racial divisiveness presaged the dramatic rise in liberals’ use of the practice since Barack Obama became president.
Insistent on viewing the world through a divisive lens, Lloyd complained that because of an “important and unique role in community discourse,” broadcasters must “act as a public trustee, providing free over the air service for the public good of all segments of their community of license.” Operative phrase: “all segments.” Never has American government forced an industry to donate a product “for the public good.” Yet Lloyd wants to force broadcasters to forgo profits in order to serve the needs of racially and ethnically segregated markets.
Lloyd pushed the same kind of anti-free market, First Amendment-ignoring heavy-handedness in a more well-known 2007 Center for American Progress report, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.” In the report, Lloyd called for legalizing racial discrimination by placing “caps” on white ownership of radio stations.
But in Lloyd’s mind, serving segregated markets is only half the battle. To make life truly fair, government must force affirmative action in broadcast industry employment and ownership. Returning to Lloyd’s “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” we find the czar-to-be using yet another straw man to demand the reenergizing of a 1970s “battle for rules to promote minority ownership.” The justification is that white ownership hurts minorities. Lack of proof for the claim exposes Lloyd’s prescription as ideologically motivated hysterics.
Hysterics inspire various degrees of action. In the case of the communications industry, Lloyd wanted the FCC to investigate using “race-based measures to advance equal employment opportunity regulations and efforts to increase minority ownership[.]” Lloyd now works for a government agency that could force a fix for the “diversity problem.”
To be sure, the FCC is in the process of acting on Mark Lloyd’s recommendations from both 2007 Center for American Progress documents discussed here. A new FCC program will “assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information[.]” Look for “diverse sources” to translate into “diverse” industry ownership.
Obama’s FCC, intent on diversifying talk radio, could be aiming to marginalize administration opponents. For camouflage, the FCC bent the truth in a reply to a CNS News FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for records of communications “to and from” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that contained references to conservative media personalities. The FCC denied the existence of communications fitting the specified parameters, but CNSNews.com reports that in the fall of 2009, the left-wing So We Might See Coalition sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski concerning “hate speech in the media” by personalities like Rush Limbaugh. And the withholding of evidence of media tampering doesn’t end with the CNS episode.
FCC Administrative Law Chief Joel Kaufman, the official whose letter didn’t report the existence of the CNS-requested document, also responded to a Judicial Watch FOIA request for information on Lloyd’s staffing and budget. Kaufman claimed that the FCC “could locate no records” showing anyone hired “specifically to support [Lloyd] in his work” and that Lloyd “has no separate budget for operation and administration.”
The mushiness surrounding Lloyd’s mission makes another portion of the FCC response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request more curious still. Kaufman’s letter containing the “no records” claim states that the FCC
… did locate internal briefing materials for the Chairman concerning “media ownership” that we are withholding in their entirety pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5,5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5). FOIA Exemption 5 permits the withholding of materials in order to encourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors.
The FCC has basically admitted to a plan to conceal from Americans the content of “media ownership” discussions that are occurring. Mark Lloyd may fulfill a dream expressed in 2007. The Diversity Czar can now work to correct “the structural imbalance of political talk radio” without worrying about bothersome interference from the American people.
A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to visit his website, chuckroger.com. E-mail Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

[1] Mark Lloyd’s exact words: “Absent a repeat of the dramatic injustices that reached Americans on their television screens in the 60s it will be difficult, if not impossible, to advance a civil rights agenda on any front in the current communications environment.” From chapter titled, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006” in “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and Center for American Progress, 2007, p.87.

Obama’s Civilian National Security Force

Civilian National Security Force

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

So Obama wants to quit relying on the U.S. military alone to implement U.S. national security objectives. Okay, in contemporary slang, The Captain’s Journal is “down with that.” So he’s going to get the State Department playing on the same side as the military? Er … maybe not.

View the video vey disturbing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s

“Just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well funded.” So the astute observer and deep thinker might reflect for a minute and be compelled to pose several questions (although the MSM won’t).

  1. How will this Civilian National Security Force (hereafter CNSF) be just as powerful as men with guns, artillery, ordnance, war ships and aircraft?
  2. What will make the CNSF “just as strong” as the U.S. Marine Corps?
  3. How will this CNSF implement national security policy?
  4. Since the 2009 budget includes just over half a trillion dollars for defense spending (The Captain’s Journal supports this, and calls for even more), and since it is judged that this CNSF be “just as well funded” as the military, where will this half a trillion dollars come from?
  5. Finally, if he didn’t really mean that this CNSF would be the beneficiary of half a trillion dollars (to do with we don’t know what), then why did he say so?

At any rate, these questions seem to be compelled by the proposal. The best bet, however, is that the MSM won’t pose a single one of them (but we do get to add another snappy sounding category to our stable of articles – Civilian National Defense Force).

The UnFairness Doctrine–>What Exactly Does Obama Want To Hide?

The UnFairness Doctrine–>What Exactly Does Obama Want To Hide?

It makes one wonder, we are in the middle of what the President-elect called the worst financial crisis since the great depression, we are fighting a war against Islamic terror on at least two fronts and our National Security agencies are warning about a terrorist threat on the US homeland during the transition period. And Obama and his democrats are worried about shutting up people like Rush Limbaugh. It makes one wonder, just what exactly is Obama trying to hide?

The Obama Fairness Doctrine By Bethany Stotts November 18, 2008

Is there something about his policies that Obama doesn’t want us to know?

Just three days after the election, a Brookings Institution leader issued a memo to President-elect Barack Obama asking him to restore the Fairness Doctrine. The Vice-president of Governance Studies at Brookings, Darrell West argues that the Fairness Doctrine would help restore journalistic ethics and fulfill the media’s mission to educate the populace.

In the first of twelve memos to President Obama which will be issued over the next eight months, West argues that the incoming chief executive needs to “Restore the Media Fairness Doctrine and Requirements for Television Public Affairs Broadcasting.” West writes,

“At present, television and radio—on which Americans depend heavily for news and information—generally do not produce or promote thoughtful or deliberative discussions. The idea behind media regulation in the 1980s was that satellite technologies and cable television would allow for the presentation of diverse viewpoints…That approach has proved largely ineffective” (emphasis added).

“With profits falling, traditional media sources too often produce little substantive information and fail to give citizens adequate information about their government,” he argues. “America needs a marketplace of ideas equal to the policy challenges.”

It is ironic that West would promote a doctrine shown to water down free speech in the name of “a marketplace of ideas.” As Accuracy in Media has documented, the Fairness Doctrine had a significant “chilling” effect on news outlets, promoting self-censorship by broadcasters wary of government regulation.

It is not for nothing that the doctrine has been labeled by some as a “Hush Rush” law.

However, the new president-elect is unlikely to favor a return of the Fairness Doctrine, per se. In June 2008, Obama press secretary Michael Ortiz told Broadcasting & Cable that “Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters.”

This issue serves as a “distraction” for the Obama campaign from more important policy reforms like media ownership and diversity, Ortiz argued. “[Obama] considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible,” B&C’s John Eggerton quotes Ortiz. “That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets.”

As AIM has documented, witnesses at last November’s hearing by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on “Localism, Diversity, and Media Ownership” proposed measures which would stifle free speech and talk radio without instituting equal time requirements. Frank Blethen, CEO of the Seattle Times, told the Senators last November that they should

  • “keep all current FCC ownership restrictions and public service mandates;”
  • “craft new FCC mandates to ensure internet freedom;”
  • “institute a ban on cross-ownership of national print and national broadcast outlets as a companion to the local cross-ownership ban;” and
  • “push for limits on newspaper ownership.”

AIM editor Cliff Kincaid warned that the Senate committee hearing could spark a renewed push for the Fairness Doctrine, especially since two committee members were John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, strong advocates for the return of the doctrine.

A study released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) last summer argued that talk radio suffers from a “structural imbalance” that favors conservatives. Their remedies: promote localism and minority ownership, and fine broadcasters who aren’t in compliance.

John Podesta, the President and CEO of CAP, is Barack Obama’s transition co-chair, one of three top positions within his transition team.

In a 2004 symposium, Podesta outlined his views on what he sees as having gone wrong with the media:

“We’re here because we understand that the media as it’s owned and organized today bears only the faintest resemblance to that Jeffersonian vision. We’re here because instead of being an uplifting force of enlightenment, media conglomerates today are sometimes the exact opposite.”

Media outlets, that is, like Clear Channel and “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.” “What would they [the Founders] think of the fact that even though Americans have more TV channels than ever to choose from, three-quarters of us are seeing content that’s generated by only 5 different media companies?,” queried Podesta. “And what would any of them say of a broadcaster whose influence is so great, but journalist ethics are so feeble, that 48% of its viewers believe a war was justified because of an event that never occurred?” (emphasis added).

Statements like these make it clear that Podesta, along with CAP, intend to muzzle conservative expression—especially within the talk-radio market, which they have argued favors conservatives because of this “structural imbalance.”

Columnist Michelle Malkin, a Reed Irvine Award recipient, called CAP’s proposals a “Hugo Chavez approach to the radio airwaves.”

Barack Obama has shown that he considers key portions of Blethen’s and CAP’s proposals a priority when regulating the media. His presidential agenda to “ensure the full and free exchange of ideas through an open internet and diverse media outlets” hinges on four points:

  • protecting the “openness of the internet” through net neutrality;
  • encouraging “diversity in media ownership;”
  • protecting children “while preserving the first amendment;” and
  • “safeguard our right to privacy”

“Barack Obama believes that the nation’s rules ensuring diversity of media ownership are critical to the public interest,” stated the web page on November 7. “Unfortunately, over the past several years the Federal Communications Commission has promoted the concept of consolidation over diversity.”

“As president, Obama will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.”

The CAP study found that “markets that air both conservative and progressive programming are statistically more likely to have female- and minority-owned stations in the market, and are significantly less concentrated than the markets that air only one type of programming” (emphasis original).

In his agenda, as found on November 7, Obama also committed himself to creating a government with “a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens.” But citizens who visit the change.gov website were unlikely to see what America’s future president intended for the media over the last week—because the content was taken down. A new, abbreviated version, was recently reposted on http://www.change.gov.

In the interim, the website had an agenda of two paragraphs, forcing those searching for information to retrieve the agenda through independent archives. It is unclear at this point how much of the agenda has been changed. This merely adds to a long history of statements in which our future president either denies inconvenient truths, or scrubs his website to remove misleading statements.

Lynn Woolley, writing for AIM, recently commented that “The Fairness Doctrine is going to make a comeback, and the only thing that might stop it is the American people.”

Is there something about his policies that Obama doesn’t want us to know?”

Obama Declares War on Conservative Talk Radio

Obama Declares War on Conservative Talk Radio

By Jim Boulet, Jr.

Barack Obama sought to silence his critics during his 2008 campaign.  Now, with the ink barely dry on this November’s ballots, Obama has begun a war against conservative talk radio.

Obama is on record as saying he does not plan an exhumation of the now-dead “Fairness Doctrine“. Instead, Obama’s attack on free speech will be far less understood by the general public and accordingly, far more dangerous.

 

The late community organizer Saul Alinsky taught his followers to strike hard from an unexpected direction, an approach known as Alinsky jujitsu.

 

Obama himself not only worked as an organizer for an Alinsky offshoot organization, Chicago’s Developing Communities Project, but would go on to teach classes in Alinsky’s beliefs and methods.

 

“Alinsky jujitsu” as applied to conservative talk radio means using vague rules already on the books to threaten any station which dares to air conservative programs with the loss of its valuable broadcast license.

 

Team Obama and the “localism” weapon

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule in question is called “localism.”  Radio and television stations are required to serve the interests of their local community as a condition of keeping their broadcast licenses. 

 

Obama needs only three votes from the five-member FCC to define localism in such a way that no radio station would dare air any syndicated conservative programming.

 

Localism is one of the rare issues on which Obama himself has been outspoken. 

 

On September 20, 2007, Obama submitted a pro-localism written statement to an FCC hearing held at the Chicago headquarters of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Operation Push.

 

Furthermore, the Obama transition team knows all about the potential of localism as a means of silencing conservative dissent.  The head of the Obama transition team is John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

 

In 2007, the Center for American Progress issued a report, The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.  This report complained that there was too much conservative talk on the radio because of “the absence of localism in American radio markets” and urged the FCC to “[e]nsure greater local accountability over radio licensing.

 

Podesta’s choice as head of the Federal Communications Commission’s transition team is Henry Rivera.

 

Since 1994, Rivera has been chairman of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council.  This organization has specific ideas about localism:

 

In other words, it would not do for broadcasters to meet with the business leaders whose companies advertise on their station.  Broadcasters must reach beyond the business sector and look for leaders in the civic, religious, and non-profit sectors that regularly serve the needs of the community, particularly the needs of minority groups that are typically poorly served by the broadcasting industry as a whole.

 

Rivera’s law firm is also the former home of Kevin Martin, the current FCC chairman.  Martin is himself an advocate of more stringent localism requirements. 

 

It was on Martin’s watch that on January 24, 2008, the FCC released its proposed localism regulations.  According to TVNewsday: “At the NAB radio show two weeks ago, Martin said that he wanted to take action on localism this year and invited broadcasters to negotiate requirements with him.”

 

FCC complaints as politics by other means

 

Remember that an FCC license is required for any radio or television station to legally operate in the United States.  A single complaint from anyone can significantly hinder a station’s license renewal process or even cost the station its FCC license entirely.

 

There have been some attempts to utilize the FCC complaint process for partisan political ends, most memorably in 2004, when Sinclair Broadcasting agreed to air a documentary questioning Senator John Kerry’s war record:
Poised to pre-empt programming on its 62 television stations to run a negative documentary about Sen. John Kerry, Sinclair Broadcast Group has come under fire from critics calling it partisan and questioning whether it is failing federal broadcast requirements to reflect local interests.
Members of Congress and independent media groups have questioned the company’s willingness to respect “localism,” a section of federal law that requires media companies to cover local issues and provide an outlet for local voices.

 

One group, The Leftcoaster, went further:

 

But what isn’t done a lot which requires the broadcaster to rack up expensive legal fees, is to challenge every one of their affiliates’ FCC license renewals as they come up this year and next.  … [T]here still is time to organize and file Petitions or objections by November 1, 2004 for Sinclair stations in North Carolina and South Carolina, and for Florida by January 1, 2005.

 

More recently, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium issued a “fill in the blanks” official FCC complaint form which begins “Anything that you feel is offensive is worth reporting.”

 

Community advisory boards as permanent complaint departments

 

These random efforts could be far more effective at silencing conservatives if they could only be systematized and institutionalized.  That is exactly what the FCC proposed on January 24th.   Every radio and television station would be required to create:

 

[P]ermanent advisory boards comprised of local officials and other community leaders, to periodically advise them of local needs and issues, and seek comment on the matter. … 
To ensure that these discussions include representatives of all community elements, these boards would be made up of leaders of various segments of the community, including underserved groups.

 

The “community advisory board as permanent complaint department” model may well be based upon the 1995 revisions of the Community Reinvestment Act, as described by Howard Husock in City Journal:

 

[T]the new CRA regulations also instructed bank examiners to take into account how well banks responded to complaints. … [F]or advocacy groups that were in the complaint business, the Clinton administration regulations offered a formal invitation.  …
By intervening-even just threatening to intervene-in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York…[emphasis in original].

 

Understand that even allowing conservatives to be radio talk show guests may provoke a FCC licensing complaint.  Just ask “right wing hatchet man” Stanley Kurtz.

 

For Obama, when it comes to radio talk, silence is golden, at least when it comes to conservatives.

 

Can localism be stopped?

 

FCC observers agree that the outpouring of complaints from groups like the National Religious Broadcasters during the original comment period helped delay matters. 

 

However, Kevin Martin’s determination to enact a localism regulation has led him to ask the broadcast industry to accept a voluntary standard that the FCC would then enact.  If industry failed to agree now, Martin warned, “a future FCC may be less willing to compromise than the current one.”

 

This scare tactic — agree to our demands today or suffer dire consequences tomorrow — is having an impact. 

 

What broadcasters need to do: speak up now

 

Radio and television station owners need to become engaged in the localism issue and then take the time to educate their own Congressman and Senators about the dangers of the FCC’s proposals. 

 

If broadcasters get involved, it just may be possible to block implementation of any localism rules during the few months remaining of the Bush Administration.

 

This delay is critical, since once it is the Obama Administration leading the fight for rules which would shut down conservative talk radio, Republican Congressmen and Senators will find it easier to fight back.

 

The Senate needs to draw a line in the sand: free speech, not localism

 

While President Obama will have the authority to name Commissioners as their terms end, these nominations must be confirmed by the Senate

 

A few pointed questions on localism to FCC nominees during their confirmation hearings would be useful.  A filibuster of any and all pro-localism FCC nominees would be even better.

 

Any Senator leading such a filibuster would earn the gratitude of millions of fans of talk radio as well as everyone who believes in free speech..

 

Jim Boulet, Jr. is the founder of the anti-localism web site, KeepRushontheAir.com.  Research assistance for this article was provided by Richard Falknor of Blue Ridge Foru

Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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Axis Of Bias

Axis Of Bias

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Media: A major newspaper suppresses damning video of Barack Obama partying with pro-terrorism radicals. Meanwhile, Obama punishes news outlets that do their jobs. Fairness Doctrine anyone?


Read More: Media & Culture | Election 2008


 

Los Angeles Times owner Sam Zell must have thought of the Chicago Cubs when he OK’d the layoff of 75 editorial employees this week. Zell owns the lovable loser Cubs, who haven’t won the World Series in a century, and the liberal media are turning into the Cubs of modern communications.

But news-hungry consumers don’t find it lovable when the media elite keep important stories to themselves. John McCain has demanded that the L.A. Times release its videotape of a 2003 farewell party in Chicago at which Obama is said to have grandly toasted guest of honor Rashid Khalidi, the late PLO head Yasser Arafat’s spokesman. (Ex-terrorist Bill Ayers may have been there too.)

But the Times apparently doesn’t think Americans are entitled to see Obama praising a terrorist mouthpiece before they decide whether to make him president for four years. Similarly, major news outlets buried this week’s story of Obama calling for “major redistributive change” in a newly discovered 2001 radio interview.

But if you think we’ve got an unholy alliance between liberal Democrats in Washington and this country’s media elite now, just watch what happens if Obama becomes president with a Democratic Congress — especially if it features a filibuster-proof Senate.

Major Democratic congressional leaders like Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, 2004 presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want the reinstitution of the outdated, pre-Internet “Fairness Doctrine.” They want to counter the news revolution in which blogs and talk radio have taken on the Big Three TV networks.

The Obama campaign claims Obama opposes a new Fairness Doctrine, but City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson doesn’t think a President Obama would veto such a bill. Moreover, Obama and most Democrats want to impose more “local accountability” on broadcasters, “setting up community boards to make their demands known when station licenses come up for renewal,” as Anderson notes.

This measure is “clearly aimed at national syndicators like Clear Channel that offer conservative shows,” Anderson says. “It’s a Fairness Doctrine by subterfuge.” Obama would pair that with relicensing stations every two years instead of the current eight.

We have already seen that Obama’s forces have no scruples about punishing media organizations who do not act as disciples of “The One.” Newswomen with both WFTV in Orlando, Fla., and the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia dared to ask running mate Joseph Biden about Obama’s plans to “spread the wealth,” as he infamously told Ohio’s Joe the Plumber. The Obama campaign let the journalists know they were now personae non grata.

With both the executive and legislative branches firmly in the power of the most liberal leadership ever — Obama, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — it is naive to think they would not move against those who most threaten their prospects in the midterm elections of 2010. And that is Fox News and conservative talk radio, supported by the blogosphere.

The establishment media and liberal Democrats constitute an axis of bias, arming to threaten the free speech of Americans. George Orwell, call your office.

 

FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content

FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content
McDowell warns reinstated powers could play in net neutrality debate, lead to government requiring balance on Web sites.

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
8/12/2008 5:37:12 PM

     There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”

 

     FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.

 

     The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.

 

     “I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”

 

     “Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”

 

     McDowell told BMI the Fairness Doctrine isn’t currently on the FCC’s radar. But a new administration and Congress elected in 2008 might renew Fairness Doctrine efforts, but under another name.

 

     “The Fairness Doctrine has not been raised at the FCC, but the importance of this election is in part – has something to do with that,” McDowell said. “So you know, this election, if it goes one way, we could see a re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine. There is a discussion of it in Congress. I think it won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine by folks who are promoting it. I think it will be called something else and I think it’ll be intertwined into the net neutrality debate.”

 

     A recent study by the Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute argues that the three main points in support of the Fairness Doctrine – scarcity of the media, corporate censorship of liberal viewpoints, and public interest – are myths.

FCC Tries To Hush Rush

We Must Unite As a Party We must not let Obama or Hillary Win

 

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My Friends,

I am writing to you because we must begin to unite as party and prepare for the upcoming election in November. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for president, I will stand on my conservative convictions and offer Americans a clearly conservative approach to governing. But my friends, I cannot succeed in this endeavor without the support of dedicated conservatives like you. And today, I write to ask for your support.

Will you join my campaign today by making a generous contribution? We will have a hard-fought battle against either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and I know that by joining together, our party will prevail on Election Day.

Earlier this month, Senators Clinton and Obama raised over $10 million online for their respective campaigns in just a few short days. I know that I must take the time now to replenish my campaign’s funds to prepare for what will undoubtedly be the most expensive campaign for president in our history. That is why I ask you to make an urgent contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more today.

This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our shared conservative principles prevail.

Senators Clinton and Obama want to increase the size of the federal government, raise your taxes, and withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for political expediency. I intend to reduce the size of the federal government, cut your taxes and win this war. I have had the distinct honor of serving our great country for many decades and with your support, I will be able to serve her for a little while longer.

I am proud to have come to public office as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution. My friends, twenty-five years later, I am still proud to be a conservative and it is my greatest hope that you will join me in this campaign today. Thank you.

Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for president, I intend to lead our party to victory in November guided by our shared conservative principles. The upcoming battle for the White House will be the most expensive ever and your immediate contribution of $50 or more will help our campaign raise the funds necessary to wage a spirited and competitive campaign. Your generous support is always appreciated and I look forward to working with you as we campaign through Election Day. Thank you.



Paid for by John McCain 2008 · www.JohnMcCain.com

The Barker and the Shill: The Fraud of the Fairness Doctrine

The Barker and the Shill: The Fraud of the Fairness Doctrine

By Selwyn Duke

If you’re old enough to remember the days when freak shows were in carnivals and not daytime television, you may know about the barker and the shill.  These were carnival employees who both worked to entice customers into entering the mysterious realm of the sideshow, only, their methods were very different.  The barker – the correct terminology is the “talker” – was a P.T. Barnum-like character, a bold salesman who sang the praises of the exhibits.  Although he was given to the hyperbole of marketing, he made no bones about his agenda: He wanted your business.

The shill was a very different animal.  His job was to stand amidst the crowd and pose as one of their number; he would then feign awe as he claimed to have seen the show and that it was truly a jaw-dropping experience.  He was trading on his illusion of impartiality, knowing it lent him a capacity to convince that eluded the talker with his obvious agenda.
This occurs to me when I ponder the attempt to resurrect the “Fairness Doctrine” by politicians such as Congressman Dennis Kucinich and avowedly socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.  For those of you not acquainted with this proposal, it harks back to a federal regulation in place from 1949 to 1987.  Ostensibly it was designed to ensure “fairness” in broadcasting, mandating that if radio and TV stations air controversial viewpoints, they must provide equal time for the “other” side.
Now, as many have pointed out, this effort is motivated by a desire to stifle conservative commentary.  After all, it isn’t lost on the radical left that the dumping of this doctrine in 1987 directly coincided with the rise of conservative talk radio.  Freed from the threat of hefty government fines, stations were finally able to formulate programs based on market forces and not government regulation.  Thus did Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and many others give voice to the usually silent majority.
Of course, many may wonder why I’d take issue with fairness.  Shouldn’t we give the “other side” its day in court, one may ask? 
The problem is that this regulation would be applied to talk radio but not arenas dominated by liberal thought, a perfect example of which is the ever-present mainstream media (which presents the “other side”).  This is because talk show hosts trade in red meat commentary, whereas the mainstream press is more subtle in its opinion-making. 
Fine then, say the critics, that’s as it should be.  We don’t have to worry about “responsible journalists”; it’s those acid-tongued firebrands who pollute discourse with their pyro-polemics who bedevil us.  And on the surface this sounds convincing, which is why I tell you of the talker and the shill.
The dirty little secret behind the Fairness Doctrine is that it punishes the honest.  Think about it: Radio hosts are the talkers; they wear their banners openly as they proclaim who and what they are.  Sure, they may be brash and hyperbolic, loud and oft-sardonic, but there is no pretense, little guile, and you know what they want you to believe.  You know what they’re sellin’ and if you’re buyin’.
The mainstream media, however, is a shill.  Oh, not shills working with talk radio, of course, as their talkers are entities such as MoveOn.org and Media Matters, but they are shills nonetheless.  They masquerade as impartial purveyors of information, almost-automatons who, like Joe Friday, are just interested in the facts, ma’am.  They flutter their eyes and read their Teleprompters, and we are to believe God graced them with a singular ability to render facts uncolored by personal perspective.
In reality, though, the Shill Media are about as impartial as an Imam in a comparative religion class.  Let’s not forget that they used to call Republican reductions in the rate of spending growth “budget cuts,” have a habit of referring to pro-lifers as “anti-abortion groups” (they don’t call pro-choice groups “pro-abortion”) and to terrorists as insurgents or even “freedom fighters,” and only seem to perceive hate crime when the victim’s group has victim status.  And while I can’t comprehensively document news bias here, suffice it to say the Shill Media are at least as ideologically monolithic as talk radio.  Why, in 1992, 89 percent of Washington journalists voted for Bill Clinton; in 1996 the figure was 92 percent.  Even outside the Beltway liberal bias reigns, with scribes so situated favoring Democrats by about a three to one margin.
But the point here isn’t the nature or pervasiveness of the bias, but its insidiousness.  The Shill Media are infinitely more dangerous because of their illusion of impartiality.  There’s a reason why we trust what Consumer Reports says about Buick a lot more than what Buick says about Buick.  And if we discovered that Buick’s marketing arm was masquerading as a consumer advocacy magazine, we’d want the subterfuge revealed.  Remember, brainwashing is only effective if you’re not aware it’s occurring.
This is why the Fairness Doctrine is an insult to the intelligence of anyone possessing more than a modicum of that quality.  Its message is, hey, hide your bias well, be a slick propagandist and you’ll proceed unmolested.  But dare not tell the truth or be so bold as to bare your soul.  Like an ostentatious literary critic, we appreciate subtlety and abhor straightness.  Lying lips trump truthful tongues, don’t you know? 
Thus, far better than a fairness doctrine would be a “Truth in Media Doctrine.”  And here’s its mandate: When a correspondent is shown on the nightly news, there must be a caption to the effect of, “Dan Rather, Clinton-Gore-Kerry voter” or “Katie Couric, lifelong Democrat.” 
Hey, why not?  Let’s strip the masks off the shills.  Otherwise, it’s a bit like letting Mullah Omar sing the praises of Islam while dressed as a Catholic priest.  And shouldn’t these “responsible journalists” be at least as honest as those troglodytes in talk radio?
I wax satirical but, in reality, ensuring truthfulness is far easier than securing fairness.  In fact, how could the latter possibly be achieved?  After all, media bias lies not just in how news is reported but also in what they choose to report on in the first place.  Why do they decide to focus on sex-discrimination in the construction industry instead of transgressions by abortionists?  Why Abu Ghraib instead of the oil-for-food scandal?  Why that which helps or harms one cause but not another?
The fact is that the media choose the social battlefields and decide which way salvos will be fired.  Human judgement is in play when they decide whether to broadcast or bury, how often a story will run, what terminology will describe it and what imagery will attend it.
Then, the idea that fairness is ensured by disseminating the “other side” presupposes that there are only two sides, but an issue isn’t a coin.  There are often a multitude of sides, therefore, a dictate to present both sides simply means government input in the process of discrimination.  After all, two sides will be chosen from among many.  What about the libertarians, Greens, Vermont Progressives, Constitutionalists, Christian Freedom Party members and communists?  Oh, silly me, I forgot.  The communists are giving us the Fairness Doctrine.
Of course, some will say the other side is simply a refutation of the talkers’ controversial positions.  But here I note that much of talk radio commentary is in fact a refutation of Shill Media positions.  Thus, insofar as this goes, talk radio doesn’t need to be balanced by the other side.
It is the other side.
So, affirmative-action and quotas in commentary?  Please.  Should I think Big Brother capable of factoring millions of different elements into a media formula and developing a paradigm for fairness?  Sure, let’s have the Post Office run the press.
Of course, the dirty little secret is that the Fairness Doctrine is about everything but.  Its proponents are political shills, bristling at the fact that their talk radio test balloon, Airhead America, only succeeded in talking its way into Chapter 11.  Their spirit is the same one that gives us speech codes in colleges and corporations, the effort to stifle grassroots lobbying and hate speech laws.  Perhaps it’s that those who can teach, do, and those who can’t, legislate.    
You know, there’s an image conjured up by this scheme, that of a sullen, pouty little child complaining, “That’s not fair!” and stamping his foot with arms akimbo.  But as John F. Kennedy observed, “Life’s not fair.” 

                                                                                                                                   

No, it certainly isn’t.  Some people are born with intelligence, others aren’t.  Some people possess logic, reason, sound ideas, philosophical depth and powers of persuasion, others don’t. 
I guess the less gifted’s recourse to this ploy is a tacit admission that they bring no ammunition to the battlefield of debate.  And now it seems they fancy big government a substitute for big ideas.                                       
Selwyn Duke is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Contact Selwyn Duke